Venice: October 1556, 20-25

Pages 719-747

Calendar of State Papers Relating To English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 6, 1555-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1877.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying and sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. All rights reserved.


October 1556, 20–25

1556. Oct. 20. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 7 B. 669. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, and Febo Capella, Venetian Secretary accredited to the Duke of Alva and to the Pope, to the Doge and Senate.
In execution of the commands contained in your Serenity's letters of the 16th instant, we had audience of the Pope to-day at 1 p.m. His Holiness, supposing that the Secretary had come to take leave, said “The Secretary must think it an age until he returns;” to which I, Ambassador, replied, “Holy Father, the Secretary is here to serve your Holiness, and as long as he can do so will remain willingly, knowing that such is the intention of the most serene Signory, who being most anxious for the peace and quiet of Christendom, of Italy, and of this See, and especially of your Holiness, has resolved to send back the Secretary to the Duke of Alva (having understood by our letters how ready your Holiness shows yourself to make the agreement, towards which the said Duke likewise assured the Secretary he was inclined), charging him to propose to his Excellency two courses, the one to send your Holiness, by an agent of his own, articles and conditions more fair and suitable and such as may be to the dignity of this Holy See, the other to hold a conference, as the means which have often contributed to effect so good a result as peace, and to demonstrate by deeds what he has said in words about his goodwill; but that first of all the Secretary be sent to your Holiness to receive from you such suggestions about these two courses as may be thought fit, and then that your Holiness should let him know which of them would please you most, so that he may endeavour with all earnestness to have it taken.”
The Pope, after listening attentively, replied, “Magnifico Ambassador, we thank the Signory for this office, and by reason of the love we bear them we could not but take what they do in good part, though we tell you that this sending or doing nothing at all are all one (che questo mandar, et niente, è tutto uno) with these enemies of God, because this Duke is an agent; and you, who are experienced in affairs of state, well know that agents cannot do one thing more than another without a commission, although this individual arrogates great power to himself, and says he has performed so grand a feat as this present impiety without its having been ordered him, which is in truth a fine and eminent commendation; but this is not the case, for he received the order thus to do, nor may you suppose that without it he would have advanced so far and not have written maria et montes to his master, and that he will also do and say much more, and can you expect that he will not wait a reply? But admitting that he is at liberty to make the agreement, rest assured that for words you will bring back words; he will tell you some of those his first knaveries (sue gagliofferie prime) about the prisoners and the re-establishment of our vassals. What we have done was well done, and when it shall please God we will prove this against them and their accomplices. To retract what we have done would be to betray Christ, cujus vicem gerimus; this we will not do, we will die first; and when unable to remain here we will go to a place where we shall have opportunity for finishing our processes, and doing what becomes us, and what was done by former Popes for much slighter cause. The mere harbouring of our vassals, besides so many other causes, is sufficient for the privation of other kingdoms and empires, most especially of our own fiefs, which we will assign to those who shall conquer them. The kingdom of Naples is not so mean and insignificant as not to find some one who will wish for it. This is what I have to say about conditions: as for the Conference, that Duke would fain do as on the last occasion, when his snares and way-layings (le sue insidie et assassinamenti) were discovered, for God assisted the Cardinal San Giacomo and our nephew, who fell sick and could not go thither; so that in short you will obtain no good result, and will compromise the most illustrious Signory's dignity, for that man (colui) will laugh both at you and at us; and to open our heart to you freely, out of the love we bear you, and not to despatch you as we should any other ambassador, with a few well-weighed words, we in this matter will neither give you counsel nor any consent.”
I, the Ambassador, rejoined, that the Secretary being here by commission from your Serenity for the service of his Holiness, I besought him to give some hint (lume) about his will respecting these conventions (partiti). The Pope replied, “Shall we tell you what the Signory should do, and which would have served to curb those Imperialists (costoro)? They should have sent to say to the Duke of Alva, What art thou doing that thou comest so far forward? Why dost thou make war on a Pope and the See Apostolic? Desist from hostilities, cease to attack, as otherwise we will not put up with it. Had the Signory done this, we promise you that by this time we should be at peace, because the Imperialists (costoro) are afraid of those who show them their teeth, and deride such as perform any cold offices.”
Having said this, his Holiness seemed by degrees to go working himself into a rage, like one who wished to say, what the Pope did say, thus, “We understand that those Imperialists (costoro) are practising on you, and propose large conditions (partiti larghi), but if you accept them they will be in perniciem vestram; never will you have had a worse day than that one, and you will pay dear for what you have done; we tell you this, and protest in the name of God that you will pay the reckoning for it if you render yourselves the friends of His [Divine] Majesty's rebels, of one who persecutes the religion, for you will soon see them open heretics, as they now are secret ones; but why do we say secret ones, if, in addition to this honourable undertaking of making war on us, Philip eats meat in public on the eves during the Ember weeks and in Lent; but he says, 'Oh, the weakness of my stomach compels me to do so.' Eat in your chamber, scoundrel (mangia in camera, scelerato); and as thou knowest that this is one of the tenets (propositioni) of the Lutherans, do not give the world this scandalous example; but who forbids the son to resemble his father, who, as we have told you, encouraged those heresies to make himself master of Rome, and when he saw that it was intended to apply a remedy he ordained something worse, which was the 'Interim.'” (fn. 1)
Here the Pope repeated the words uttered heretofore against the Emperor in person, as written by me to your Serenity, calling him diabolical (indiavolato), soulless (senza anima), thirsting for the blood of Christians, schismatic, born to destroy the world; mentioning the bad state of Flanders, Spain, the Milanese, and the kingdom of Naples, “which,” he said, “was in such distress that it would give itself to the Turks; but that God assists us, so that they they do not think of it, although they have the convenience of a short passage, such as that of Vallona to Puglia;” adding, “Ally yourselves with these people, who have always been your friends, as testified by Maximilian, who laid siege to Padua with upwards of 100,000 men, and they pretend that your territory is theirs; and you permit the destruction of the religion, the faith of Christ, the state of the See Apostolic! By God! when we are devoured, you will be their salad (una insalata a costoro), nor will it be of any use for you to call Sultan Soliman to your assistance. Do not deceive yourselves, these Imperialists seek first to humble us, to destroy the religion, and then you, because you have more vigour with regard to temporal power, in order then to make themselves masters of Italy, as no one else remains there. Remember that you have to give account of your actions, first to God, should you allow His cause to perish; then, we will not say to us, for we shall soon leave you, being old, as you perceive, but to him who is to come after us, nor can you know who it may be; and last of all to posterity, who will marvel how you can have been so blind and stupid as not to see your own welfare. Know that you are lords of men and not of brutes; where are there so many beautiful and flourishing cities, and such populous ones, as in your territory? Where is a university like that of Padua? where you have greater convenience than anyone else for making your children study; besides which, through the variety of negotiations transacted by you at sundry periods, and by reason of your natural prudence, you are fitted to rule the world; wherefore you will have to render by so much the greater account of your actions. Do not then permit the possibility of your being reproved; take up the cause of religion, of justice; open your eyes to your own advantage and honour.
Thereupon, I, the Ambassador, said, “Holy Father, the proceedings of our ancestors were not of such a sort as to render it possible to entertain suspicion that those most prudent Lords now living could ever do anything to the prejudice of the honour of God, or to the detriment of the [Roman Catholic] religion, nor do I know of any conditions (partito) proposed to them.” The Pope replied. “We know of it, and it has been announced to us;” to which I rejoined, “Most blessed Father, I can assure your Holiness that the most illustrious Signory never bore any sovereign so much affection as is borne by them towards the See Apostolic, and especially towards your Holiness, nor do they seek anything but peace, of which they hope you will make a most precious gift to the world.”
He then continued, “We do not need to be exhorted to make peace, nor could a greater injury be done us than to doubt the fact, and to wish to persuade us thus to do, for the whole of our past life has tended towards nothing else, and in like manner the commencement of our pontificate;” and he then commenced telling of the “Reform,” the “Council,” the “Datariato,” and other things on this subject, as mentioned repeatedly and written by me; adding, “These Imperialists are the enemies of God, and traitors; you indeed know about the poisonings and the acts of treachery, both against our person and our kinsfolk, which we discovered. Do you wish us to let ourselves be assassinated by your means; do you yourselves wish to sell us? Do you kill us in preference, as we shall at least die by the hands of Christians, if indeed manibus hominum perisse juvabit.” To this I replied, “Holy Father, absit, nothing is desired but what may be advantageous and honourable for your Holiness, and therefore the most serene Signory is sending back this Secretary to the Duke of Alva.”
“Do as you please,” said the Pope; “we will not fail in our duty provided the Imperialists (costoro) quit the Papal States, freeing our whole territory, and making reparation for loss and interest, as that would be fellowship (perchè questo saria da compagni), unless they prefer coming as suppliants to beg pardon and exemption from the censures already incurred by them, in which case we should not close our heart to pity; but were we to do otherwise we should consider ourselves unworthy of the post filled by, us, nor will we omit repeating to you to bear in mind what he (quello che fece) did, as they will propose to you whatever may please you, and then do nothing of the sort, as is also the case with those others,” alluding, so far as can be judged, to the King of France and the Duke of Ferrara; repeating to us what he said to me, Ambassador. “Nullum non lapidem moverunt.” You know the affair of the Farneses, and that they have even placed (messo) that carrion Ascanio della Cornia (quella carogna d'Ascanio della Cornia). We do not ask you for a league, nor for any other assistance, but merely that you should direct yourselves well and provide for your affairs; and you, Secretary, may make this report to those lords, though their first wish ought assuredly to be to see a King of Naples and a Duke of Milan, were they to get nothing else, as this would be their aggrandizement and security, and to effect it they should pledge their property, and their wives and children, and remain nude, and they should expel from their councils those who persuade them to the contrary.” In conclusion the Pope said, “Magnifico Ambassador, the respect we bear the most illustrious Signory, and the great trust we place in you, makes us speak thus, as we always have done.” Then, having thanked him for so free and confidential a discourse, we said that the Secretary would go to the Duke of Alva, as commissioned, and then return to let his Holiness know what he had done. He replied “Go” (andate), and having received the benediction, we took leave.
For the entire fulfilment of the Signory's orders we then went to Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano at Monte Cavallo, and I, Ambassador, announced to them the Secretary's return to the camp, as I had done to the Pope, adding that his Holiness had not condescended to say which of the two proposals pleased him best, merely telling him at the end to go. The Cardinal replied that the Pope did perhaps not declare his mind, because, knowing the nature of the Imperialists, he suspected that it might render the Duke of Alva yet more elate, but that he, the Cardinal, very much approved of the proposal for fairer terms and articles, such as might be to the dignity of the See Apostolic, rather because the other course could not be adopted for several reasons, one of which was that the enemy held the open country, so that there was no safe place in which to hold the conferences; the other, that they would not end in an hour, and that the delegates would have to remain there several days, it being necessary to set forward the conditions before coming to the interview. This was confirmed by the Duke of Paliano, who added that he could very safely promise that the Pope would never reject fair terms, and that whenever able to make the agreement to the dignity of the See Apostolic he would do so; and with regard to his brother and himself, he said there was nothing more advantageous or more desired by them than peace, provided the Pope's dignity were preserved. When we asked them where the army was, they said they believed it to be at Frascati, and that the Duke of Alva was to find himself at Grottaferrata this evening, having circulated a report of going to Veletri, though this they doubted, as it was a strong place, garrisoned by good troops and a good commander, the latter being Adrian Baglione.
In these conversations, most serene Prince, we think we have elicited two facts, the one that the Pope has been advised [from Venice?], or informed from some other quarter, that a league is being attempted between the Imperialists and your Serenity, a suspicion which I sought to eradicate; the other is that neither the Pope nor Cardinal Caraffa seemed inclined towards the peace in the way demonstrated by them at our last interview [12th October], which is perhaps owing to the many and positive promises of assistance from France, although the Duke of Paliano evinced the same ardent desire for peace as always professed by him.
Rome, 20th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher, with contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 20. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 670. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The preparations for the war remain in the same state as described in my last of the 14th, for the purpose it is said of awaiting fresh advices from Rome about the conference which was to be held; but last evening a secretary of Cardinal Tournon arrived, and although he brings word that the Pope will make no agreement, and this is confirmed by the new Nuncio Cesare Brancaccio, late Governor of Rome, who arrived here to-day postwise, no further steps are taken about the preparations aforesaid. It seems that his most Christian Majesty would wish to find means for adjusting the affairs with the Pope, (fn. 2) and that the report of these preparations may the rather induce the King of England to make the agreement, for as frequently written by me, his most Christian Majesty has always kept a certain sort of negotiation on foot with him, and lately through the Cardinal of Lorraine, who told the Abbot of San Saluto (as written in my letter of the 9th) that King Henry wished King Philip to send him one of his ministers (un suo) to let him know his mind with greater certainty than it is represented by his ambassador resident here, who conferred about this to-day with the Constable, and told him that Don Ruy Gomez is determined to come himself to his most Christian Majesty should it thus please him (quando così gli sia caro), but that first of all he wishes his Excellency, as a veteran diplomatist, to open the road for him, whereby to negotiate peace between the two crowns, because as for the Pope the matter was not of sufficient consequence to prevent the possibility of discovering an immediate remedy. The Constable answered the Ambassador that with regard to the coming hither of Don Ruy Gomez his most Christian Majesty will always be glad to see him, and as to opening a road for the negotiation of peace he could only repeat what was said at the conference of Calais, that whenever the King of England will make restitution, his most Christian Majesty is ready to do the like, and that should King Philip choose to hold what he has, King Henry also will hold his own, whilst if on the other hand King Philip prefers placing himself in the hands of arbitrators, his most Christian Majesty would consent to that. The Ambassador announced this, as he was desired to do, by a courier to Don Ruy Gomez, so we shall soon see the result.
Some months ago the King of France gave Madame de Valentinois [Diane de Poitiers] the Turkish and Moorish slaves who were saved from the Imperial galleys wrecked off Corsica, and the said lady sold them lately to an agent of Adam Centurione, who bought them for Prince Doria, at the rate of 26 golden crowns per head, they being 633 in number; and shortly afterwards a Turk arrived at the Court in the name of Sultan Soliman to request his Majesty to release the said slaves, and the sale having been made shortly before, the Turk was kept waiting for audience eight or ten days, and they then told him that his most Christian Majesty was content to release them if they were in his hands, wherefore the Turk was to go to Corsica, and if he found them, an order should be given him for their immediate release; but as their purchaser has had time to remove them from the island it is considered certain that the Turk will arrive there after their departure.
Paris, 20th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 22. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 671. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The new Nuncio had audience of the King yesterday, and in the Pope's name strongly urged his Majesty no longer to delay declaring that the truce was broken, and to commence marching his forces already destined for the assistance of his Holiness, who was in such a state as not to have the means of holding out much longer without fresh aid from his Majesty. When he departed, the King discussed what was to be done with his Council of Affairs (con il suo Consiglio delli Affari), and although some of the members were of opinion that without farther delay it would be well to satisfy his Holiness, the Constable, nevertheless, persuaded his Majesty to wait for six or eight days, during which interval the decision from Ferrara would arrive, and moreover, Don Ruy Gomez having given it to be understood that he would come hither, it was well to await the result of his visit, as from that, and yet more from the Duke of Alva's mode of proceeding, it might be inferred that the King of England was not averse to the agreement, as unless he in fact wished for it those troops would make greater progress and do more mischief than they are heard to do. The King therefore determined that the resolves made about the war are all to remain suspended in their present form.
It has been determined to assist the troops in Savoy, by sending them two arrears of pay (doi paghe), it being feared that were they to receive more, they would disband by reason of the great hardships they have endured. The Government is still intent on pecuniary supply, and his Majesty sent for the chief burgesses of this city, and in fair language proposed to them to accommodate him with a certain good amount of money, paying the usual interest of eight and one-third per cent., but nothing whatever is yet settled, for although they evinced their customary good-will, they, nevertheless, also said something about the straits in which they now find themselves, owing to so long a war as the preceding one was, though it is believed that they will not fail to satisfy his Majesty. The muster of the men-at-arms, which was to have been made on the 20th, is put off until the 30th.
Paris, 22nd October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7. B. 672. Febo Capella, Venetian Secretary, to the Doge and Senate.
Yesterday I went to Grotta Ferrata, 10 miles hence, where I found the Duke of Alva with the whole army. I arrived at 6 p.m., and shortly afterwards was introduced to his Excellency, to whom I stated what your Serenity had again ordered me to do, from your wish to see the peace set on foot, for the general advantage, employing the identical words of your letter, but omitting (as recommended) the paragraph about the conference, as neither that, nor still less the preceding one, had pleased his Holiness, and insisting on the one about proposing fairer articles and conditions, and more to the dignity of this See Apostolic 'and of his Holiness, Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano having commended this.
His Excellency replied that, to speak freely with me, as he had done already, and as was his custom, he would tell me that he knew no one more desirous of peace and quiet than the most serene King of Spain, both by nature, as also because this was not a war in which he could amplify his territory and dominion, as it was waged against the Pope, which would not be the case with any other power; and that as it was waged unintentionally, on cessation of its cause the effect will cease immediately; and that with regard to his Excellency, he could assure me in truth that the peace will be more dear to him, and the adjustment more agreeable, than were he to take Rome, and the Pope, and the whole of the Papal States; adding that, before answering me, he deemed it necessary well to ponder the nature of this infirmity, so as to be enabled subsequently to discern the remedy which it would be good to apply to it, concerning which he also wished for my opinion and counsel. And he proceeded to say that these priests are of such a sort that towards those who humble themselves before them they evince such haughtiness that there is no living with them, nor can anything that is desired be obtained from them, whilst, on the other hand, to those who show them their teeth they are no less servile (che la sorte di questi preti è tale, che chi si humilia con loro, essi se inalzano tanto, che non si po viver, ne si po ottener cosa che si voglia, et così all' incontro, che chi mostra loro li denti, s'abbassano altrettanto); and that his Excellency having made every demonstration of humility and submission, they had elevated themselves to such a pitch (si sono talmente inalzati) as to bring matters to their present pass, and that therefore he intended proceeding in another manner (havea animo di proceder di altra maniera), and to see about putting a stronger bridle on them, and try whether this other way could help to make them condescend to the agreement; and that as to proposing fairer terms, and more to the dignity of this Holy See and of his Beatitude, and sending them by a personage of his own (un suo personaggio) (as suggested by me to him), he had sent the articles with which I was acquainted, believing them to be such that by cancelling a single one of them the agreement to be made would not last, as was the wish of the King, of your Serenity, and of his Excellency, who had not had much regard for the dignity of his Royal Majesty, and for his own, appreciating the said dignity less than he did the peace, and drawing up the articles in such a way that on their execution things might remain quiet and pacific. That two days ago they sent back to him his Friar Manrique (Fra Tomaso Manrique) (fn. 3) with certain impertinencies (con certe cose impertinenti), and that his Excellency re-despatched him with a reply of the same tenour; notwithstanding all which, however, to prove the wish of his Majesty and of his Excellency to be such as stated by him, he was willing to resume his former system of submission and humility if I counselled him thus to do, the which course he nevertheless felt certain would bear no fruit whatever. In reply to his inquiry concerning what I thought on the subject, I said that it was not requisite for me to counsel his Excellency farther, knowing how good he was, but that I would indeed tell him again that your Serenity relied so much on his prudence and experience in business (nella pratica che ha delle cose) as to make you promise yourself firmly that, with the wish always expressed by him for peace, as confirmed by me, and in conformity with that of his Majesty and of your Serenity, he would prove this his desire to the world by devising conditions of the sort specified by me. To this his Excellency replied, “Let us do thus: have the articles proposed by me taken in hand by those most illustrious lords; let them hear the Pope's reasons, and those of the King, and adjust them in their own fashion, as I shall always be disposed to do what they shall choose;” adding, “Lead me, guide me as you will, for I shall always be content with their decision, knowing how great are the wisdom and justice of those lords, provided it can aid the business of the agreement; but let them beware of doing the contrary, for I know the nature of those who rule the Pope (conoscendo Io la natura di quei che governano il Pontefice). (fn. 4) You will go to Rome; should you comprehend that it would be well for me again to humble myself (as I have said), you will write me word, as I will do so willingly.”
I replied that I understood what his Excellency had told me about his goodwill towards the peace, and repeating for the third time what I had said to him in your Serenity's name, I added that there would be no occasion to write farther to his Excellency, as he might have very well understood from me what your Serenity's wish was in the matter, and, according to the Signory's commands, I utterly declined interfering in it farther, and perceive that your Serenity's will and respect in this particular were sage.
This much I have to tell you in respectful execution of the instructions given me; nor will I omit adding that his Excellency said that these Lords (questi Signori) purpose giving into the hands of the French some of these fortresses, and he mentioned Corneto near Civitavecchia, which place I forgot to name to your Serenity, and that his Excellency knew it to be most certain; and through an excellent channel (requesting me to keep the thing secret) he also knew that, in “sede vacante,” it is the intention of Cardinal Caraffa to make himself master of Ancona, and arrange his affairs by giving it to the French, saying, “Would to God that the Pope would not place himself so much in the power of the French, as subsequently, even should he wish it, he would no longer be at liberty to attend to the agreement and peace.”
Then this morning there came to the chamber where I was lodged, in the abbacy itself of Grotta Ferrata, where I was accommodated both with a bed and every other necessary from the Duke's personal effects, there came, I say, his Excellency's chief secretary (who on the preceding evening met me with some horsemen), and kept me company for a while, saying he chose in like manner to descend the hill with me; and when near the Duke's tent, he said it would be well for me to see his Excellency again, so I dismounted, although I had taken leave of him, to depart next morning, on the evening before. I found him in the said tent where he resides since he has been at Grotta Ferrata, and he commenced repeating what he had said to me in the evening, detaining me more than a quarter of an hour, nor did I fail to answer him in conformity with what I had done on the aforesaid evening, doing the like by the secretary, who then, having asked leave of his Excellency, accompanied me a good way on the road (mi fece compagn ia per un bon pezzo).
Yesterday, at a short distance from Grottaferrata, I met the Prince of Bisignano and Count Pepoli, with whom I went as far as the camp; and the said Count, who is the son of a sister of the Pope, spoke to me at great length about his regret for this war, and his wish for peace; as did the Prince, who asked me whether any of his “Companions of the Hose” of the “Gardeners Company” (nominati “Li Hortolani”) (fn. 5) were still alive; and he said great honour had been done him at Venice, he and his descendants having been inscribed on the Golden Book. The Imperial army is encamped around the aforesaid abbey of Grottaferrata, a strong position, and convenient for wood and water.
From what I heard it consists (down to this day) including Spaniards, the Italians already on the spot, those who arrived yesterday, and the other 3,000 who were expected to-day from the Abruzzi, of about 20,000 infantry. The Spaniards, well accoutred and fine troops, are in number some 3,000; and the others, also, seem to be good soldiers. They have 21 squadrons of light-horse, but which are not all of equal number, some being 60 strong, some 80, and some 100. They have six ensigns (stendardi) of men-at-arms, who do not amount to 500, and eleven pieces of artillery, including heavy guns and field-pieces (tra grossa et da campo). They have got from the Abruzzi 2,000 sappers and miners (guastadori), whom I saw, and they have no lack of beasts of burden both for victuals and to draw the artillery. Marc' Antonio Colonna is “general” of the men-at-arms, Count Pepoli of the light-horse, Vespasian Gonzaga of the Italian infantry, and Don Garcia de Toledo of the Spanish, and Ascanio Cornia is quartermaster-general (maestro general de campo). It is supposed that they will fortify “Rocca di Papa,” which is a very little above Grottaferrata; and that the army will not move until the arrival of the Germans and the 800 Spaniards whom they are expecting, the first named having already passed through the Veronese, as also the others from Milan, on their way to embark at La Spezia on board the galleys, which will not be more than 31 (the others having gone to Spain), and on their arrival they will make themselves masters of Hostia, and fortify it, to have the command of the Tiber, and then, if in sufficient force, attack Civitavecchia; the army having no scarcity of victuals, as the pass through the Abruzzi so near at hand is open to them; notwithstanding which, it seems that bread is not so abundant as it ought to be, considering the supplies found by them in the Papal States.
Rome, 22nd October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics are in contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 22. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 673. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On Sunday, Friar Tomaso Manrique went to the camp, being sent by the “Congregation,” as written in my last. He took a letter of credence from Cardinal Carpi alone, because he, having attended the Congregation, knew what was to be done by the said Friar, who returned hither on Monday, and having given the Duke of Alva the proposal in writing, drawn up by himself (but with the knowledge of Cardinal Caraffa), he brought back in like manner a written answer. From what I have been told by a great Cardinal, who had it from his own lips, the Friar said to the Duke, that with regard to his proposals, the Cardinals of the Congregation would endeavour to make the Pope consent to the first and second; and as for the securities, that they would give what they could, and such as might be judged fitting. Respecting the other articles, which I will not particularise, having sent them to your Serenity at the time, their right reverend lordships did not dare propose them to his Holiness. The Duke replies, that he has heard the Friar's statement, and that by Don Francesco he sent such articles as seemed to him fitted to quiet the present disturbances, and that he prayed their right reverend lordships, whenever they thought they had a good opportunity, to present them to the Pope, and perform an office in favour of the peace, so that the Pope might be honoured and acknowledged (“acusata” to use the Spanish word) by his King's Majesty, in whose name the Duke himself in like manner humbly petitions his Holiness. Besides this reply, the Friar says he found the Duke very blustrous (molto sul bravo), and he thinks he perceives that his Excellency holds no one in account (che non stimi alcuno), which proceeds from the abundance of treasure received by them from the Indies, and from the supplies made in Flanders, Spain, in the kingdom of Naples, and at Milan. Ferrante de' Sanguini has also come from the camp, and brings general words (parole general).
The Cardinal San Giacomo is inclined to go and see his nephew the Duke of Alva, if the Pope will give him leave, having told his Holiness that should he choose him to speak about the affairs of the peace, he will do so willingly, and that even should he not, his going to the army cannot but be of use. The Cardinal who communicated to me the report of Friar Manrique, added, as a very great secret, that he thinks ill of the affairs here, by reason of the Pope's obstinacy, the weakness of this side, and the brisk provision (gagliarde provision), made by the other; so he is afraid that, should the army blockade Rome, the Pope will be compelled to do what he constantly says he will, namely, leave Italy, placing the principal fortresses in the hands of the French, both to interest them in his defence, and also lest they fall into the hands of Imperialists, there being already some signs of this occupation, as there are French soldiers in Civitavecchia, and they are also endeavouring to get some other fortresses.
Besides the news of the army given by the Secretary Capella, I hear that on decamping from Palombara, as one of the inhabitants was the cause of the murder of a commissary appointed by the Duke of Alva, the soldiers sacked them, but the honour of the women, and the residence of Cardinal Savelli were respected. One day lately, the Imperialists seized some oxen (notwithstanding the Duke of Alva's proclamation allowing them to do so freely) belonging to the Romans, which went out to plough (alquanti buoi de Romani, usciti per romper la terra per seminar), in greater number than was required for the work. Their apologists say it was in order to give the oxen pasture, though the seizure is supposed to have been made in revenge for the cattle taken under Tivoli by Leonardo della Rovere, commander of a company of Papal cavalry. Endeavours are being made to obtain restitution of the oxen, and the Romans have complained to Cardinal S. Giacomo, who is supposed to have sent his chaplain to the camp on this account. Yesterday, Ascanio della Cornia went with some companies to occupy Porcigliano, a place near Hostia, and obtained it without difficulty, although one of his chief captains, Zerbin da Cremona. was killed under the walls by a harquebuse shot.
A captain of great consideration, and who speaks to me confidentially, besides telling me of the disorders of the Papal Court (disordeni di questi Signori), assured me lately, that by remaining here he knows that he risks the honour of the person who sent him, and his own, and also that of his troops, as besides all the other inconveniences is the following one, that they are not paid until the expiration of the service, each rate of pay [for one month?] being 30 giulij, the disbursement of which is very often delayed, and, even if given in due season, it would not suffice for the meanest soldier's living during 18 days, everything here having become so dear, in consequence of which they will either be compelled to sell their arms, and whatever they possess, or else to rob and muting; and as he will not put up with any of these things, he was determined to announce the fact to the personage [the Duke of Urbino?] for whose service and by whose order he came hither, telling me besides, that he is also creditor for three months “tasse de cavalli.”
A certain portion of the fees for the despatch of consistorial benefices (beneficij di concistoro) is assigned to the Cardinals, and as there are now some 3,000 crowns [on this account?] in the name of Cardinal Pacheco, the treasurer of the College, Cardinal Caraffa has sent him a written order not to consign either that sum or any other derived from the same source to the Cardinals, but retain the whole for the service of the Pope and of the Church, the portion of each of the aforesaid Cardinals being placed to their credit in the Treasury, for reimbursement in better times. It is also said that to-day the Romans have determined to levy the “quatrino(fn. 6) on every pound of meat in Rome, which city and Bologna were alone exempt. It may yield about 30,000 crowns [annually?], of which they sell 3,000 at 10 per cent., giving the purchasers certain State revenues as security, and will thus be enabled to avail themselves of 30,000 crowns immediately, and then prolong the said tax until they can pay off the 3,000 crowns which they have sold. (fn. 7) Camerario, who had been appointed Commissary-General, (fn. 8) is much at strife with the “conservators” of Rome, it seeming to them that he assumes the entire jurisdiction; and it is said that from almost all the trades of a certain importance (de qualche polso), under pretence of their having transgressed their statutes (which we call “mariegole”), he will exact 100 crowns by way of compromise from each member of the guilds.
A despatch arrived yesterday from the King of Spain in reply to what was sent to him some days ago by Cardinal Pacheco (with the consent, however, of Cardinal Caraffa), about these disturbances, and from what I hear from a person who can know it, his Majesty declares himself well inclined towards the peace, even beyond what is fitting, though not to the extent, at this commencement of his reign, of depriving himself of all dignity and repute; and that knowing the Duke of Alva to be prudent and good in like manner as he believes him to have done all he has done hitherto well nigh under compulsion, so does he leave to him the power of granting and doing (d'accordar et far) what he shall think fit for his Majesty's benefit, which is quite contrary to what was reported lately by the French, and credited, that the King of Spain had written to the Duke to desist from this undertaking.
Rome, 22nd October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics are in contemporary decipher.]
Oct. 23. Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives, No. 7, B. 674. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador in Rome, and Febo Capella, Venetian Secretary accredited to the Duke of Alva and to the Pope, to the Doge and Senate.
The Pope, having entered the audience chamber, where we were waiting for him, (as he had retired with Cardinal Caraffa,) when I, Ambassador, asked him how he was, replied, “Troubled, on account of these enemies of God, renegade-moriscos (marani), spawn of Jews (seme di giudci), for we have yet to learn that they are Christians; but we hope in Christ that they will repent them of what they have done. We will deprive them of their kingdoms and empires; we will proclaim them excommunicated and accursed, them and those who shall have participation with them; we will make a crusade against them, because both father and son are heretics; and we will extirpate that accursed race. We are not the servant of men, we are the servant of God, and His Divine Majesty will assist us. Who knows what His goodness and infallible providence may choose to effect? Perhaps in order to bring about some memorable result, He caused this impious generation (questi empij) to wage war on us without any fault of ours. This scum of the earth (questa fezza del mondo) has, alas, commanded us, owing to our cowardice, ever since those wretched souls Lodovico Moro and Alfonso (fn. 9) placed the neck (la testa) of Italy under the yoke of the barbarians, our capital enemies. You also have communication (habbiate pratica) with these promise-breakers (maneatori di fede), who cajole you, and will offer you a thousand large conditions (mille larghi partiti), solely for the purpose of annihilating you. Beware of what you are doing; this we protest to you beforehand out of the love we bear you, not for any other cause, as in none but in God do we place our hopes; nor do we ask you for anything, because we will not be obliged to you, but only this, as we said so mildly to you, Ambassador, without ever demanding a league, that you should regulate yourselves well and prepare to defend your own, and that you do not let yourselves be persuaded by these your especial enemies to do what you may have to repent of, for in that case we should comprise you in the anathemas and maledictions which they have incurred; for you imagine that the present war involves solely the ruin of Italy,—it involves the destruction of the Catholic Faith! Witness the end towards which the proceedings of these wicked wretches (questi scelerati) tend, hear what their words signify, read what their writings imply, or rather what they say publicly, make our Cardinal give you the letters written by Ferrante dell' Offredo to the inhabitants of Ascoli, and you will see whether it would be possible to conceive a more fiendish act (più indiavolata operation); and send it to my most excellent lords, that they may know what a race this is, for we know things which you perhaps do not know.”
Thereupon 1, the Ambassador, said,” Holy Father, of this, as affirmed by me on the day before yesterday to your Holiness, I know nothing whatever, but I can promise you special reverence and observance on the part of the most serene Signory towards this Holy See and your Holiness' person, and an incredible desire for peace.” The Pope replied, “Sovereigns and Republics, as you know, are wont to do what profits them; let those lords consider whether it turns to their account for this State to be mastered by the Imperialists (costoro) who spe devoraverunt dominium totius Italiæ or, on the other hand, whether it would benefit them were these wretched remains one day to raise their head and do what shall seem to them advantageous and honourable for those lords and their posterity for ever. We have willed to say these few words for the satisfaction of our conscience, for we would fain not witness your ruin; and do you, Secretary, who we suppose have done nothing with these traitors, now speak.”
I, the Secretary, then said, that in your Serenity's name I had strongly urged the Duke of Alva to prove by deeds what he had told me heretofore by word of mouth, about his goodwill towards peace, by proposing fairer articles and conditions and more suited to the dignity of this Holy See and of your Holiness, so that the peace might be made, it being certain that nothing renders a peace more lasting than the fair terms on which it is based. In reply, his Excellency dwelt much on his own wish, and that of the most Serene King of Spain, for peace, and that both one and the other desired nothing more than to make a firm and perpetual agreement; which I announced to his Holiness in execution of your Serenity's commission, and because I hoped that with God's assistance he would find means to comfort the world by giving it peace.
He replied, “The Signory must show her teeth (bisogna che la Signoria mostri li denti) if she wishes an agreement to take place, for to make a good peace it is requisite to knock those Imperialists on the head (bisogna dar sopra la testa a costoro), as in that way it might be effected. We will go farther with you, for at any rate we are not addressing the common people, but an ambassador and secretaries, in whom we place trust, and a Signory who we cannot imagine would ever deceive us. You will soon see all Italy in arms, and a war the greatest and most important that ever was—even the Turks will come; nor may you say, why not apply a remedy through peace? for such is the perfidy of these rebels to God, and their insolence in choosing to command us, and to make us do in our own house in their fashion, and preventing us from exercising justice and maintaining that dignity which Christ has given us, that it cannot be. Now in the midst of these commotions, can you remain looking on with folded arms? You might possibly repent of it. You have given passage to the Germans for the service of these accursed of God; should you not give it to those who will come on our behalf, we shall consider you open enemies.”
I, the Ambassador, not choosing these words to pass without a reply, said (in conformity with the order received from your Serenity) that his Holiness must not doubt of your giving the same passage to his troops as you had given to others, of which I assured him as an indubitable fact; whereupon the vehemence of his speech, as likewise of all his gestures, subsided, and he continued, in a lower tone, and much more tranquilly, “We do not tell you to arm for our assistance, nor to do one thing rather than another, but to defend your own state. Will you see everything around you in flames, and not think of running to your own roof with a bucket of water? If you arm, and remain within your own boundaries, you will preserve the dignity of Italy and the Signory's authority, and you will render both sides apprehensive; whereas, should you not do so, you will endanger your own state by generating a wish in a quarter where it does not exist (perchè ne farete venir voglia a qualcuno che non se lo pensa); besides which, you will remain with no great repute in the world, for it might be said, 'Those Lords, with such great forces as they have in Italy, might have been her arbiter had they acted with their usual prudence, and they would have put their stamp on which side they pleased instead of waiting to have judgment passed on themselves.' We doubt whether any of your own patricians could give you better advice than to make such provision as to secure your state, and enable you, (should God thus inspire you,) when the opportunity presents itself, to do what might bring you glory and very great profit, together with increase of territory. Pray, at length rouse yourselves! why so many scruples? Where are those venerable old men of mine, so brave and full of spirit, whom I knew in your city? Why are they not living now? You are young, and certain things which do not justify fear seem great to you. Had I a seat in your Senate, I would tell its members these things, and yet greater ones, and perhaps with less reserve, not from personal interest, but merely for the service of the State.
“For great achievements great courage is required. Would it not be well to drive the Imperialists (costoro) from hence, and to make a King of Naples and a Duke of Milan, so that they might not have more than that? If unable to do more, this would be done easily, were there men; but, even if it should be difficult, why ought they not for so glorious an undertaking to risk life, and what there is (metter la vita, et ciò che c'è)? We cannot know what the Almighty may choose to do, but should it please His Divine Majesty to grant us such a grace in our time, what joy would then be ours, what felicity! My Signory of Venice would be in her grandeur; the See Apostolic will then be what it ought to be; Italy then secure for thousands of years; and as we have this opportunity of the Secretary (who by word of mouth will report to those Lords in addition to what you, Magnifico Ambassador, will have written to them), we will open our whole heart to you in the most confidential form imaginable, praying you indeed to keep the matter very secret, as otherwise we should consider ourselves betrayed by you and by the most illustrious Signory. Should you choose, we in a few days will cause the mission hither of two sons (si faremo mandar qui doi figlioli)”—he did not explain whose, but we saw that he meant to say of the King of France—“one for King of Naples and one for Duke of Milan; one we will give to you, the other we ourselves will keep, and we will educate and rear them, so that in four years they will be Italians, a thing which cannot be done with these others, because Philip has so many kingdoms that he can never rule them, besides which it is intended (si dissegna) to give him the Empire likewise; and therefore he is at variance with the King of the Romans, so that (according to information received by us) Maximilian departed from them lately, very dissatisfied; and then Philip aspires to universal monarchy (alla monarchia), as his father did. The French, on the other hand, will do whatever we wish, for the King is a dutiful son (un bon figliolo), and gives us every satisfaction.”
The Pope then added, “In this affair there is much cloth (quì ci è panno assai); we will prove our love for you by placing it in your hands to be measured out as you please (che ve ne facciate che parte vorrete). Heretofore, Magnifico Ambassador, we dropped a word to you about Sicily, &c., that that Island would suit you better than any other Power in the world, on account of the navigation (per rispetto della navigatione), and you would be perpetual lords of it, such being our good pleasure, which cannot come to pass with regard to the French, and you would derive such profit from it (besides many other conveniences) in the matter of corn, that you would have no need of others. You would thus have cloth and shears in your hand; do not lose so fine an opportunity (così bella occasion) (for never had you a greater one) whilst we are in this See, as we love you so much, and desire solely to do you some signal service, and should that blessed day arrive on which we can congratulate ourselves, we will give you such a share as to astonish you, and you will be compelled to say that you did not believe our love for you to be so great. Keep prepared, incur vast expenditure in ordinary; demonstrate it, so that we may hear of your men-at-arms, your fleets; engage a commander-in-chief (un capitano); and, if for no other reason, do so to preserve your own; and should you not chose to appoint a commander-in-chief, name a governor, as we do not bind you more to one course than to the other, for we wish your respects in this matter to be considered; though we will tell you that, should the Signory choose to appoint a commander-in-chief, we pray them to consider as recommended our son the Duke of Urbino, not indeed because he has had anything said to us on the subject, nor that he may think we bear him in mind, but because he is a good son (bon figliolo) and brave, besides the service rendered you by his father (than whom we certainly do not hold him in less account), but because he loves and reveres you; and owing to the conveniences which you might derive from his territory, we do not see anyone more to your purpose. Write this, Lord Ambassador; and do you, Secretary, say so in our name to those most excellent Lords, assuring them that whatever they shall do for the Duke of Urbino, we shall consider it a favour done to ourselves. But, in conclusion, arm yourselves, my children, as you are compelled to do so for the defence of your State, which admits of no regard for anyone, nor can anyone reproach you for it, because, having twice performed this office with the Duke of Alva,—which has been most acceptable to us, and we thank the most illustrious Signory for it, as it savours somewhat of a protest (perchè ha non so che del protesto)—unless you provide at least for your own security, they will laugh at you for it, and you will utterly lose your repute; nor do we know whether we might not have to repent us of the praises so often bestowed by us on you for arming to oppose the Turk's threatened invasions, when we combated our predecessors, who denied you some fair subsidy for that purpose, telling them that if you did not arm they ought to command you to do so in virtue of obedience to the Holy See, and give you assistance for that purpose, because your remaining in readiness (provisti) is the safety of this State.” The Pope then added, “There would be many other things to tell you, but we will no longer try your patience. May the Almighty inspire you to do what may be for your advantage.” After thanking his Holiness for this confidential communication, we then took leave.
Rome, 23rd October 1556.
Oct. 23. (Second Letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 675. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
Having taken leave of the Pope, the Ambassador and the Secretary went to Cardinal Caraffa and the Duke of Paliano, who were together, and, the Cardinal having withdrawn from personal necessity, the Duke said to us, “Let us adjust it, pray adjust it; for I see a great conflagration kindling.” Scarcely were these words uttered, when the Cardinal having made his appearance, the Secretary repeated to him what he had said to the Pope, and was answered that the Duke of Alva, by limiting himself to general terms and not descending to particulars, showed that he did not really wish for peace save in words, so that he might do his own business, as he did when he sent his agent to all the Christian Powers that they might exhort the Pope to quiet, and simultaneously commenced war. The Cardinal said he thanked God that the Signory considered the terms proposed unfair, the Secretary having told the Duke to propose fairer ones, in which case, should the State consider them suited to the Pope's dignity, there would be no difficulty in making the Pope, and the Cardinal and Duke his ministers, accept them, as it cannot be supposed that a Pope who had already sent Legates to make peace between others would wish in his own person to make war; though the Pope and they did indeed wish for a secure and honourable peace, and, rather than make it otherwise, they were resolved to die, as death is natural and unavoidable, but infamy descends even to posterity, besides sullying the entire past life of men of honour.
The Cardinal then demonstrated at great length that the Imperialists had commenced the war solely for the purpose of giving law to the Pope, repeating what had been said by him before about the prisoners and the barons who had been deprived of their fiefs, and adding that the Imperialists were bent solely on schism, as seen by the proceedings of the Duke of Alva, who at the commencement had the oath of fealty taken to the College and the future Pope, and by the letter of Ferrante dell' Offredo addressed to the inhabitants of Ascoli, which the Cardinal read to us, endeavouring to prove that the interests of his family would make him not swerve (non deviar) from peace. To this the Duke added that he was ready to give back Paliano to the Pope, and remain with nothing but his sword and tabard (con la spada et la cappa sola), provided it could produce some good effect, with the hope that God would not abandon him: saying that he saw certain things in movement which, unless soon remedied, would cause such a general conflagration that two generations would not suffice to extinguish it; that the Duke of Alva, thinking to serve his master, renders him the greatest disservice possible, for should it be true that their sole object is to make sure of the Pope's will, and to do so by force, they will not succeed, as his Holiness and his nephews would rather die than yield to blows (batiture); and that noble minds are won by gentleness and not by outrage.
The Cardinal added, “Those who have done us the injuries suffered hitherto will perhaps not repeat them, as we have made such provision as will enable us to prolong awhile, and God will assist us, for the sword of heaven does not cut in haste;” the Duke having previously said to us that no good result could proceed through the Duke of Alva, as by the last advices the King of Spain referred himself to him. The Duke also said that no agreement could be made without the restitution of his state to Mare' Antonio Colonna, whose brother-in-law Don Garcia de Toledo led the Duke by the nose (si lassara menar per il naso da Don Carcia di Toledo), and that the quartermaster (mastro di campo) Ascanio della Cornia directs everything.
Rome, 23rd October 1556.
Oct. 23. (third Letter.) Original Letter Book, Venetian Archives. No. 7 B. 676. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate.
On returning home from the palace I found the illustrious Lord Camillo Orsini waiting for me, and after a few ordinary compliments and a friendly apology for not having come to me sooner, as besides being deterred by business he did not wish to give cause for comment, he said he had come to tell me a few very important things, requesting me, however, for several reasons to keep them secret and not to mention his name when writing them to your Serenity. He said that ever since he had been called hither by the Pope he has advised him to keep quiet, seeing that by war one of two evils was unavoidable, either to lose this State, or with the assistance of others to put the whole world to fire and sword, and that he spole so freely as to enrage the Pope, adding that he never expected it to come to a rupture, as he did not see how the Pope could do it without the assistance of the French, nor how the Imperialists could now, so much to their disadvantage, break the truce; but that he had nevertheless deceived himself, because the Imperialists having ascertained that the King of France would merely give defensive assistance, which could not resist their forces in Italy, they determined on war, and made such progress as witnessed hitherto because the Government here (questi Signori che governano qui) had not chosen to adhere to his opinion, which from his youth upwards has been that, to avoid defeat, a commander must divide his forces; adding that such is the case here, and that he knew not what the King of France would now do, though he thought that for the defence of the Pope he would be compelled to attack in every direction, as it would not do for him (non facendo per lui) were the King of Spain to make himself greater than he is; and that he, Camillo, suspected that the Pope, under compulsion, would give the French such part of St. Peter's patrimony (del stato della Chiesa) together with the fortresses as the Imperialists may be unable to get possession of, which partition being effected, the state of Italy would be too horrible to think of (troppo horribil cosa è a pensar il stato d'Italia), because in addition to the Germans, the Spaniards, the Switzers, and the French, there would be the Turk with a fleet in the Adriatic, and the Algerine fleet in the Mediterranean, so that our ruin would be inevitable; nor did he see any other remedy than your Serenity; wherefore he came to offer me a confidential suggestion, requesting it might be taken in good part, as his love for this Roman territory, which is his first country, and for your Serenity's state, which is his second, compelled him to tell me the remedy, as follows.
That your Serenity, patting words aside, should do like him who, wishing to separate two combatants, draws his sword and places himself between them; whereupon each party, from fear of the mediator's joining his adversary, and that he remain single-handed one against two, separates, a result which would never be effected by words; and that your Sublimity, therefore, should make yourself understood by a few thousands of your cavalry, and by spending a mere 10,000 crowns for the despatch of [recruiting?] captains, and making a little stir, to let it be seen that you will not tolerate such destruction; and, by intimidating one side and the other, make them all look to their own affairs. By this remedy alone could the conflagration which is being kindled to burn the whole of this poor Italy, and perhaps the rest of the world, be extinguished.
In conclusion, he showed me a letter from his son, Signor Paulo, who is in Perugia, telling him that the Duke of Florence, besides 15 [recruiting?] captains despatched by him heretofore, has now sent forth 50; that his battalions are in marching order, so that in a single day he can make them advance in any direction he pleases; and that it was said the 4,000 Germans would embark at Leghorn, so that there was much to fear for the city of Perugia; he (Signor Paulo) had therefore given notice of this to the Roman Government, and, not having received any reply from them, he prayed his lordship (Signor Camillo), who was his father, and therefore had his honour at heart, to urge their most illustrious lordships to give him reinforcements, that he might be enabled to do his duty on every occasion. The Lord Camillo said that he made this statement to-day to the Cardinal and the Duke when in consultation with them, and that they proceed coldly, as there is not money for so many things.
Last of all, after many protestations of his service to your Serenity, and that if you neeeded him (which God forbid!) he would realize what he has so often said by word of mouth about coming to serve you, even as a sapper (should he be deemed fit for nothing else); I, having thanked him for his great friendship, and for what he had thought fit confidentially to suggest, said I would write it to your Sublimity, assuring him that not one word about this would be uttered by those most illustrious Lords beyond their sanctuary, which is the senate hall; saying besides, that your Serenity held him in such esteem as his valour deserved; whereupon he departed, having first shown me his two sons, Signor Catino and Signor Giovanni, the one born at Vicenza and the other at Verona, which made him say, that in like manner as they were born in your Serenity's dominions, so did he hope that they would die in your service.
Rome, 23rd October 1556.
Oct. 23. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 677. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Having received your Serenity's letters of the 9th, desiring me to acquaint his most Christian Majesty with the offices of which you had ordered the performance with the King of Spain and the Duke of Alva, I today made the communication to the Constable, who, after listening to me attentively, replied that his King was very certain and sure of your good-will and inclination towards universal peace, and especially with regard to the quiet of Italy, and that he was glad you knew this same desire to be entertained by his Majesty, who after concluding the truce thought solely of its maintenance, and therefore saw with regret the stir of arms made by the Catholic King against the Pope, who being his natural Prince by reason of the kingdom of Naples, independently of what was due to his Holiness on account of the religion, his Catholic Majesty's ministers ought not to have proceeded as they did; and even had the Pope given them some cause (of which, however, the Constable was not aware), it was more becoming for the son to bear with the father than to do the contrary; but that his Catholic Majesty having armed, and having offended the Pope in so many ways, both by taking some of the papal places, and burning others, and finally by making the captured places swear fealty to the College of Cardinals and to the future Pontiff, implying, as it were, a threat either of schism, or of putting the Pope to death by poison, or in some other way, his most Christian Majesty, in order not to fail in his duty as implied by the title borne by him, and as his Holiness is comprised in the articles of the truce, and also because the King had promised him his protection, was resolved no longer to delay sending forward his forces for the benefit of his Holiness, and had determined to despatch the Duke de Guise, the Duke d'Aumale, the Duke de Nemours, the Marshals de Brissac and St. André, with many other lords, into Piedmont, where he should have about 1,000 men-at-arms and a great number of light horse, with 10,000 French infantry and 9,000 Switzers, who, by letters dated the 16th, the Constable understood were already raised. M. d'Andelot had also been sent to Pieardy, and would be followed by the Admiral, the Duke de Nevers going in like manner to his frontier of Champagne. All these forces his Majesty was sending because he did not choose, the Catholic King, armed and sword-in-hand, to think of compelling either his most Christian Majesty or the Pope to make an agreement unworthy either of one or the other; and that to speak to me more freely, he, the Constable, had for many and many a day delayed the march of these forces, considering how important the renewal of hostilities was; but, seeing that the King of England had honey in his mouth, and gall in his heart, he knew not how his most Christian Majesty could any longer in honour delay, and most especially as the Pope is so very urgent for the execution of what has been promised him, assuring his Majesty that he is at the end of his means of resistance, that the King's forces must come from Piedmont, and that he is determined not to consent to any agreement, nay, that when unable to do anything else, he will embark on galley-board and proceed to Arignon.
His Excellency then added, adjuring me to believe that what he would tell me on the word of a gentleman was true, that within the last six days he had in hand an Italian merchant well-known to me, who, for the war of Italy, offered his most Christian Majesty 500,000 crowns, and to leave in his hands another 400,000 francs which the King owes him and his partners; and he hinted that they were Florentines, and that even besides these there was no lack of many means whereby to raise a considerable sum; though to say the truth they had no great amount in the exchequer (in eassa), but that this crown had indeed many easy ways to raise money, as was the case also with your Serenity; and that besides his own troops, and ways and means for obtaining money, the King in like manner had no lack of friends of importance in Italy, although certain Potentates (qualche d' uno) had withdrawn from his friendship, but without his having given any cause for this, as on the contrary, they would be compelled to confess, that through the favours and benefits conferred by him on them, they were enabled to recover their own.
In conclusion, the Constable said to me that he commended your Serenity for performing these good offices for the quiet of Italy, but that words alone did not suffice and that recourse must be had to something else; so he requested your Serenity to consider of how great importance it was that a young King, like this King of England, at the commencement of his reign (nel principio delli suoi regni), should have the heart to assault a Pope, to expose Christendom to the risk of a schism, and then offer his Holiness peace on such terms, that had he got him in chains he could not have proposed more disgraceful ones; and as his Excellency knew that your Serenity bore in mind his most Christian Majesty's goodwill, and the conditions proposed by him to you heretofore, he would not repeat them to me farther, though he indeed again prayed you to ponder this matter as becoming.
I replied that your Serenity hoped our Lord God would confirm his most Christian Majesty in his good opinion with regard to the quiet of Christendom, and that his Excellency would also find the means whereby after so many troubles a good peace might be employed; and after this, the Constable, leaving me in his chamber, went to the King with whom he remained a long while. I was then introduced, and made the communication as above. His Majesty expressed great approval of the good offices performed by your Serenity, which were truly worthy of you, and that he was glad that you had understood how well disposed he was to maintain the truce; but as he saw that the Catholic King—which is the title always given him by his most Christian Majesty—gave merely words, and that his deeds were directly the reverse of what he caused him to be told, he was determined no longer to delay arming, and that therefore in four or six days M. de Brissac would leave for Piedmont, and being prevented by gout from travelling postwise he will set out beforehand and make day journeys (a giornate), but shortly afterwards would be followed by the Duke de Guise with a company of Lords; 9,000 Switzers having already been raised, who were to march towards Piedmont, whilst after the musters they would be joined by 500 men-at-arms and 600 light horse, besides the others who are there; and in like manner the French infantry will march; he (the King) not choosing any longer to be fed with words, although aware of the important consequences of his decision; but that his cause being so just he cared for nothing, and neither could nor would do less than assist his Holiness. I then said, “Sire, I will tell your Majesty, with that freedom which of your favour you concede me, it greatly surprises everybody that the Pope should wish for peace, that your Majesty should do everything to avoid breaking the truce, and that the Catholic King should say the like, and that simultaneously in every direction so many armies should be marching, and when they are near together it will not be so easy to prevent progress and the mischievous results which are apt to accompany them; wherefore should it be possible to find some good mode in anticipation whereby to quiet these suspicions, Christendom would remain much comforted, and it would be a thing well worthy of your Majesty's high-mindedness, to supply by good counsel and dignity those qualifications of which others had a deficiency (a supplir lei con il buon consiglio et con la dignità dove fusse il diffetto d'altri.”
To this his Majesty replied, “Ambassador, I very well know, as I have told you, how much this fresh commencement of war matters, but I on my part have not failed to perform every good office with the Catholic King, but was never able to obtain anything but fair words and contrary effects, and to speak to you freely, as is my wont, I will tell you how this whole affair passed. His Majesty's ambassador resident here came to me and told me that his King was disposed to refer his disputes with the Pope to me; and I answered him, and also had the like said in conformity to his King by my ambassador, that if his Majesty wished to do me this honour I would accept it, and provided his demands were reasonable I promised him to persuade the Pope to be content to accept them, and even to compel him in case of resistance, for I well knew what I could promise myself, and that in the meanwhile he should order the retreat of his forces; but never would he come to any particular save that he wished for peace, his troops in the meanwhile advancing. On these topics I gave the aforesaid Ambassador six audiences, and I swear to you by my faith that each of the six times he spoke to me differently, so that not knowing how to arrive at any result I determined to make provision both through myself and through my friends; nor will I omit to tell you another important particular.
“A few days ago the aforesaid Ambassador told me that Don Ruy Gomez wished to come to me, and I answered him that I should see him very willingly, and I was expecting to hear of his coming. The Ambassador repeated to me that the said lord had indeed the wish to come, but that he wished that I also should send some personage to his King, in order that the things might be balanced (pareggiate) and that it might be possible to arrive at some good settlement. This discourse enraged me greatly, for my Ambassador had written that the said Don Ruy Gomez persisted in saying that he would come without making further mention of my sending any one of my ministers to his King; so I told the said Ambassador that this speech of his surprised me greatly, because, being contrary to what he had told me heretofore, I believed it to be contrary to his commission, and that I should cause Don Ruy Gomez to complain to him of his having spoken to me in this form, as it came to pass; for I having let him know through my Ambassador what his Ambassador had said contrary to what he had written to me, he prayed him (Gomez), to act in such wise as to prevent him from treating me in this way; so the said Don Ruy Gomez wrote to him to come back to me, and assure me that he will come. This the Ambassador did, half ashamed, and as it were begging my pardon, saying that he had not well understood the commission given him; but this,” (said the King) “is not the first trick he has played me, for even before the war, when Ambassador here as at present, a case befell me similar to this one. I, however, well knew that this wish to take advantage proceeded from its seeming to them that since the capture of the Pope's places by the Duke of Alva, their King's affairs were prospering more than previously; but they did not yet know what my determination was, and now that the Ambassador knows it, he, at the last audience which I gave him, said to me, with a smile on his countenance, that his King chose to be my friend, although against my will; and I answered him that whenever his Majesty would consent to what was fair, I would have him for my friend and brother; so that these forms of proceeding compel me to provide as I am doing, and God grant that this may suffice to induce that King to come to some good agreement, as I for my part shall be content to have thrown away the money expended.”
When the King ceased speaking, I asked him if he had ever declared that the truce was broken. He replied that he had not, saying, “And how could I make the declaration if the Catholic King's ministers say, and cause it to be said constantly, that although I am sending my forces to Italy, their King, nevertheless, will not consider the truce broken; and I replied, so be it in God's name; and I will tell you this, moreover, that less than two hours ago the Piedmontese Count Chalon (?) (fn. 10) (Schiallant,) (sic) spoke to me on these subjects, telling me how well disposed the aforesaid Ambassador was, and how great his King's good-will was, all which I am glad to hear, but would that the effects also were similar.”
I then said to his Majesty that it was understood a courier had arrived from Ferrara, and since that negotiation was so manifest that everybody talked about it, I besought him to tell me if that Duke had yet made up his mind; and his Majesty, laughing, replied, “We are so connected both by blood and otherwise, that there is no doubt of his deciding as I wish, but there is still some little difference which will be settled on the arrival at Ferrara of his Ambassador, for this courier brings the reply of M. de Forconoe (sic), who went in advance of him; but I can give security for the Duke that he will decide in my favour;” and I added that it was also heard at the Court that the Duke was raising a certain amount of troops. “Yes,” said his Majesty, “but not on my account, but for the safe custody of his places on this passage of the German troops, and owing to the prevalent suspicions.” Thereupon, after returning many thanks in your Serenity's name to his most Christian Majesty, I took leave.
I will not omit to tell your Serenity, although you will have been able to comprehend it from what the Constable hinted to me more clearly, that so far as I could ascertain from the King's conversation and from the expression of his countenance, both one and the other showed that he is much more anxious for an adjustment than for war, but that not being very sure of the mind (dell' animo) of the King of England owing to the bad fashion (mal modo) of his ministers, and also for the repute of his name, he was induced to arm; but should Don Ruy Gomez come hither, and perform an office in earnest for the peace, it might be concluded not only with the Pope, but be set forward in a way to become general.
Paris, 23rd October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portions in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 678. Giacomo Soranzo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
Wishing to ascertain all that passed between his most Christian Majesty and the Piedmontese Count de Chalon? (Schiellant), I have heard that the Count spoke to the King in the name of the Duke of Savoy, beseeching him in the negotiations for peace to incline to some fair adjustment from which the Duke might receive some benefit; and, in reply, his Majesty said that the Duke was ill advised about his affairs (havea mal consiglio nelle cose sue), and that although he had seen his father go to ruin by keeping one road, that he nevertheless had chosen to follow the same course, notwithstanding which, when the King shall perceive that he has more regard for his own interest than he has had hitherto, his Majesty likewise would render him every assistance. Subsequently the said Count spoke in the same form to the Marshal de Brissac, praying his Excellency to favour his Duke with the King; the Marshal's reply being, that it was not time to talk about peace until the affairs with the Pope were adjusted. When the Count rejoined that he thought the King of Spain would be content with fair terms, the Marshal continued, “He must withdraw his forces from Rome, and if this Paliano causes him so much suspicion, his most Christian Majesty will have it placed in the hands of a third person, should it so please the Catholic King;” and when the Count inquired who this third person could be, the Marshal said, “In the hands of the College of Cardinals, until some better mode of adjustment be devised.” The Count replied that he believed the Catholic King would consent to this, and that if he, the Count, thought it would be agreeable to his most Christian Majesty, he would himself go to Flanders to negotiate this matter with the King; and the Marshal commended his going thither. Subsequently the Count told a person, who related it to me, that he had ascertained this to be the will of his most Christian Majesty, and of all his ministers; so he had determined to depart for that Court, with the resolve to endeavour that the King of England do send hither one of his ministers (uno suo) with orders to proceed to Italy, and make the forces withdraw from all the towns of the Church, provided the Pope place Paliano in the hands of the College of Cardinals; with which intention he departed.
Paris, 24th October 1556.
[Italian, partly in cipher; the portion in italics deciphered by Signor Luigi Pasini.]
Oct. 24. Original Letter Book. Venetian Archives, No. 7 B. 679. Bernardo Navagero, Venetian Ambassador at Rome, to the Doge and Senate
The Secretary Bucchie, (fn. 11) M. de St. Fermo, whose arrival here from France on the evening when I wrote my last was then announced by me, left the French Court on the 10th, and travelled the long road through Switzerland and the Grisons.
So far as I have been able to learn on good authority, he has brought word of the King's determination to assist the Pope, and that orders had been already given to raise 6,000 Switzers, and that 400 men-at-arms were on their march; that M. de Guise, the Duke of Ferrara's son-in-law, would be commander-in-chief (eapitano-general), and M. de Termes lieutenant-general; that M. de Brissac would go back to Piedmont with 3,000 French infantry, so that here in Rome they might avail themselves of an equal amount of trained and veteran foot-soldiers, as also of 400 light cavalry; that at the latest the main body of this army would muster at Casale by Martinmas; all which things, if true, must be known to your Serenity through a more authentic channel. I have also been assured, by a person who saw the original document, that this Secretary Bucchie brought a letter from the King to the Duke of Ferrara, in which he gives him the title of his lieutenant in Italy; and it has been told me as a great secret, by one who says he knows it for certain, that the brief has been sent from hence to his Excellency, whereby that Duke is made Captain of the League with a monthly salary of 1,000 crowns from the Pope, and 150 light horse and 400 infantry for the defence of his territory; these provisions to commence from September last; so that this individual considers as concluded the negotiation which I wrote was being treated between the Pope and the King of France; which, if true, as I am assured positively, will be known to your Serenity through some other channel, should it not have reached you already.
This morning the alarm was given, and the whole city remained in suspense, everybody believing that the enemy had shown themselves, but I understand that it was a feint to see how the troops behaved and what courage they showed; the Cardinal having therefore made an ambuscade with his own troops, at such a distance that they could not be recognized, thus trying the mettle both of the cavalry and of the Roman infantry, which, to say the truth, pushed very far forward, and amongst the rest these bands of the “Rioni.”
I hear that that Moorish page (quel Moretto) in the service of the Farnese family, who, as written by me, was arrested as an accomplice in the plots of Camillo Colonna, has confessed that the said Camillo (che esso) by means of 200 foot-soldiers sought to give the “Porta Latina” to Mare Antonio Colonna, who had arranged to secrete himself near that gate in certain ravines with 1,000 cavalry and as many more, harquebusiers, whilst Aseanio della Cornia with all the rest of the army was to make a show of storming the “Porta del Populo,” and entering by that road, it being supposed that the Roman Government (questi Signori) would have sent all their forces to resist this feint.
It is not known for certain whether the Imperial army has moved, though it is said to have decamped on its march towards Hostia.
Rome, 24th October 1556.
Oct. 24. Original Despatch, Venetian Archives. 680. Federico Badoer, Venetian Ambassador at Ghent, to the Doge and Senate.
The Cardinal of Mantua has addressed a long discourse to Don Juan de Manrique, a member of the Council of State, about the mode whereby the King might make a good agreement with the Pope, proposing first of all that his Majesty should offer to be reconciled to his Heliness, and to be always his obedient son, provided he free him from the suspicion of the Pope's wishing to make him lose the kingdom of Naples, by now placing Paliano in the hands of your Serenity; exhorting King Philip to make this peace, by reason of the many and various evils which, were it not effected, might accrue not only to Christendom in general, but to his Majesty in particular; and in like manner as this discourse was extremely commended as a fine and prudent one, so was it inferred that his right reverend lordship has more at heart the Pope's interests than those of the King.
In their conversations with me, as with others likewise, all the chief ministers here go saying (xà dicendo) that the only hope they have of a possible adjustment rests on the mediation of your Serenity, who will the more willingly persevere in it from seeing that his Majesty has unreservedly referred all his disputes to you; but they evince great fear lest the Pope hold to his first opinions, all the letters received by the King quoting the violent language used by his Holiness against him, and especially those of his Majesty's ambassador in France, and also of the Abbot of San Saluto [Parpaglia], purporting that both by letters and by messengers express, the Pope assures his most Christian Majesty that by no means will he make peace with King Philip. The day before yesterday Don Ruy Gomez, when talking with me on this subject, said that, to speak freely, the whole point of this matter reduces itself to two things—the one, that the Pope will not renounce his old idea (il suo vecchio pensiere), which has been rooted in his mind since a very long while, of depriving his Majesty of the kingdom of Naples; the other, that the King of France thinks of nothing but encouraging the Pope to continue the war with King Philip, in order that his Holiness' expenditure may be such as subsequently to enable his most Christian Majesty to realize his projects to the detriment of the Catholic King.
Four days ago the Ambassador Vargas arrived here, whereupon I went to visit him, mentioning the many honourable, loving, and earnest offices performed by me, according to your Serenity's commission, with his Majesty and Don Ruy Gomez, and with the whole Court in general. In reply, his lordship returned the most fitting, humble, and courteous thanks possible to your Serenity, for the expression of his gratitude, extolling your rule extremely, and in so loving a way, that his words evidently came from his heart, and he swore to me that he had told the King that both now and for ever it was more for his interest to possess your Serenity's friendship than that of the Pope and the King of France together. His lordship came subsequently to visit me, and after repeating the same thing several times said, with regard to his return to your Serenity, that he found his Majesty disposed towards it, and that in like manner as he himself was also well inclined to serve him, so, if employed diplomatically, he desired nothing more than to be accredited to the Signory, not merely from the wish to do the State some service, but because from his own choice he would select Venice for his perpetual abode, if the state of his affairs by reason of his children permitted him to do so, but that he was quite determined to request the King either to allow him to return home to revisit his wife and look after his property, or else to provide for him in such a way as to prevent the necessity for his doing so
The Duke of Ferrara has given leave to Count Marco di Megli at his own request to quit this Court, where he was ambassador, and his Excellency not having sent anyone to replace him as he said he would, the suspicions of the chief ministers here are confirmed that the Duke will declare himself against King Philip should his most Christian Majesty break the truce.
The Duchess of Parma is expected in a few days at Ghent, together with her son [Alessandro Farnese], in lieu of her consort [Ottavio Farnese], his Excellency remaining in Italy on account of the present events, both to keep the said Duke of Ferrara in suspense, as also because it is not for his interest to give the Pope fresh cause to act injuriously towards him.
The ambassador from the Duke of Mantua informed the King to-day in the name of Don Ferrante that his Excellency has determined to fortify Guastalla, which borders on the territory of the said Duke of Ferrara, and although Don Ferrante implies that he does so because he is at strife with him, the King, nevertheless, and the chief magistrates here do not seem satisfied with this explanation. The Marquis of Pescara writes frequently to the King for money and troops with which to provide for the defence of the Milanese frontiers, showing that he has many signs of the intention of the French to break the truce, and yesterday the King announced his intention to him of sending to raise 4,000 German infantry to be sent to Italy, and especially into the Milanese should it seem necessary.
The Duke and Duchess de Bouillon departed hence to-day on their return to France, the Duke having given security at Antwerp for the remainder of his ransom, which within a month or two after his arrival at the French Court will be paid in the said town of Antwerp to the agent of the Duke of Savoy, who writes daily from Brussels to his Majesty about what he is doing to induce the people there to concede the money grant, and he says he finds them so obstinate that he has almost lost the hope of effecting anything by persuasion; so the courtiers say his Majesty will be compelled to go in person to Brussels, as it is reported he will do, without the Court, to make the last attempt to move them or else to punish some of the ringleaders (aleuni principali) who keep the people to their opinion. The best informed persons, however, think that as the King by reason of these present times will not move to make a stir with the people of Brussels on account of the King of France, so from suspicion of the Pope he will not depart for England, although he has despatched thither the stable department and the pages, he having done this to comfort the Queen, who in all her letters evinces so strong a wish for his Majesty to go there.
The King hunted yesterday, and having caught cold he is rather indisposed to-day.
Ghent, 24th October 1556.


  • 1. A system of theology so called, prepared by order of the Emperor in the year 1548, and which was disapproved of both by Catholics and Protestants.
  • 2. The signs in the cipher signify “Sua Mta. Xma.,” evidently a clerical error for “Sua Santitàa.”
  • 3. See Foreign Calendar, Mary, pp. 253, 270, date 16th September and 17th October 1556.
  • 4. The Pope, at the period in question, was ruled by his nephews, by the Florentines Monsignor della Casa, and Aldobrandini, and by the Neapolitan, Bozzuto. See also Badoer's “Report,” printed by Alberi, series 2, vol. 3, p. 405. (Edition, Florence, 1846.)
  • 5. The so called “Knights of the Hose,” were young Venetian noblemen, “boon-companious,” who formed themselves into companies at Venice, and gave entertainments, banquets, revels, &c., of which, mention is often made in the diaries of Marin Sanuto, who, besides the “Hortolani,” alludes to other companies, entitled “Immortali,” “Sempreviri,” “Perpetui,” “Eterni,” “Puavoli” (puppets), “Felici,” “Principali,” “Liberati,” “Sbragazai” (Rakes), “Fraterm,” “Potenti,” “Fausti,” &c., &c. The Potentates of Italy, the Dukes of Milan, Ferrara, and Mantua, and other grandees, in the 16th century, were proud of being enrolled as honorary members of these companies, and whenever they came to Venice their colleagues gave them entertainments. Their devices were embroidered on their “hose,” as seen by the engravings in Cesare Vecellio's work, “Degli habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo.” (Ed. Venezia, 1590, Svo.)
  • 6. The Venetian “quatrino” was a copper coin, three of which formed a “soldo.” I do not know the comparative value of the Roman “soldo.”
  • 7. Po importar circa 30 mille scudi, et de questi venderne (sic) a 10 per cento 3 mille, obligando alli compratori certe loro entrate, et così valersi di 30 mille scudi al presente, prolongando poi la ditta angaria tanto tempo, che si possino francar delli 3 mille scudi venduti.
  • 8. Bortolo Camerario of Benevento. (See a former letter of Navagero's, dated 8th October.)
  • 9. Ludovic Sforza, surnamed the Moor, and Alfonso II. of Aragon, King of Naples.
  • 10. See Foreign Calendar, Mary, p. 273.
  • 11. In the late Mr. Turnbull's Calendar, this name is printed on page 269, “Buecioro,” and on page 270 “Buceres,” which is probably nearer the mark than Bucchie, but I am unable to ascertain the correct name.